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   Lance, Spear, Sword, and Messer
   A German Medieval Martial Arts Miscellany

Price: $54.95
Item Number: FAP000063
ISBN: 978-1-937439-63-7
Dimensions: B&W Soft cover
Pages: 334 pp. + xvi
Published: February 2022

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The 14th century – a paradoxical time of world-shattering plague, the Hundred Years War, the Peasants’ Revolt, but also literary and artistic innovation, formed the basis of the Renaissance. In the later years of this turbulent time a shadowy figure named Johannes Liechtenauer systematized lessons for swordsmanship, wrestling, armoured, and mounted combat. Recorded in cryptic, rhyming verses, it fell to masters of the 15th and 16th century to record, clarify and expand the grandmaster’s instructions in an extensive body of fencing manuals. As the world of the knight receded into history, these texts — many extensively and beautifully illustrated — were forgotten by all but German-language antiquarians and fencing historians until the last decade of the 20th century, when they were rediscovered by a new audience of martial artists and historians.

In Lance, Spear, Sword and Messer, Christian Tobler makes a ‘deep dive’ into these fighting traditions, creating a rich anthology that has extensive, instructional material on topics as diverse as the two-handed sword, spear, poleaxe, wrestling, and the use of long shields, combined with thought-provoking analysis and historical commentary that will occupy the mind – and challenge the preconceptions – of long-time students of medieval German martial arts. Finally, the martial career – in arms and in the literature of arms – of the famed Emperor Maximillian I, often called “the Last Knight,” who was himself a devoted student of the tradition, serves as a capstone of this collection, much as his literary output, including a planned, but unwritten fight book, did in his own lifetime at the waning of the Middle Ages and start of the Northern Renaissance.

No author has done more to reveal this lost world of German knightly martial arts to a modern audience than Christian Tobler. Written just after the turn of the millennium, Secrets of German Medieval Swordsmanship (2001) was the first complete English translation of a medieval fighting text combined with a textual and photographic interpretation of its hundreds of techniques. Since then, he has gone on to publish three translation-editions of other 15th-century combat treatises, an extensive, fully illustrated training guide for students interested in the practical study of the art (Fighting with the German Longsword). In Saint George’s Name (2010), was an anthology of essays on the art.




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